Physician Practice Roundup—Study finds Americans concerned about hospitals acquiring independent practices

Study finds Americans concerned about hospitals acquiring independent practices

A new study found that most Americans are concerned about the trend of hospital consolidation, specifically the rate at which hospitals are purchasing independent physician practices, a move which they see as a threat to affordable care.

The study, conducted by international polling company YouGov, was released by LUGPA, a trade association for independent urology group practices in the U.S. In a national survey of 1,191 adults, more than 60% of participants said they are concerned about the impact of hospital mergers and acquisitions on their access to affordable care, with 25% saying the trend is a threat to their health.

The survey found that 65% of patients said they trust an independent physician to give them the best recommendation over those employed by hospital systems. And 69% of respondents think Congress should take action to prevent the continued trend of hospital mergers and acquisitions. (Report)

Need help talking to patients about cost? AEH launches new tools to help the conversation

When a patient signs in at a hospital or doctor's office, he or she may have some upfront questions about costs that front desk staff aren't ready for.

But arming staffers with a conversation guide—including sample questions, a checklist of topics to cover and a selection of resources to provide to patients before they even meet a doctor—can alleviate that pain point and create a more open line of communication on the cost of care.

That's the goal of America’s Essential Hospitals’ Cost of Care Conversations tool, a newly launched digital library that compiles various resources for patients and providers to get them talking about healthcare costs. Included in the online hub are workflow charts, training briefs, videos, handouts and a pocket card (PDF) that clinicians can use as a quick screen for patients who may struggle with cost burdens. (FierceHealthcare)

Aetna, Ascension join blockchain alliance targeting provider directories

A new blockchain alliance that wants to improve the accuracy of provider information just added two healthcare powerhouses to its efforts.

Aetna and Ascension have joined Synaptic, the blockchain-focused alliance launched earlier this year by UnitedHealth, Humana, Multiplan and Quest Diagnostics. The group, which now includes three of the nation’s largest payers and a health system that employs 34,000 providers, is focused on using the distributed ledger technology to improve the accuracy of provider directories.

Inaccurate directories have plagued payers for years. An audit released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in January found that 52% of provider directories in Medicare Advantage plans contained at least one error. (FierceHealthcare)

Fired female executive accuses Optum of gender discrimination, ignoring abusive treatment

A rising female executive at an Optum subsidiary has accused the company of gender discrimination, alleging she was passed over for a promotion in favor of a “chauvinistic and misogynistic” male executive who routinely berated her.

In a complaint filed on Monday in a New York district court, Tiziana Cacace, the former vice president of operations and strategic development at ProHealth, a multispecialty practice acquired by Optum in 2014, alleged she was promised a promotion as the group’s chief operating officer but was usurped by another Optum executive, Dennis Fine. (FierceHealthcare)